Common mistakes and confusing words in english

Accept vs except

Accept is a verb, which means to agree to take something.

For example: “I always accept good advice.”

Except is a preposition or conjunction, which means not including.

For example: “I teach every day except Sunday(s).”

Advice vs advise

Advice is a noun, which means an opinion that someone offers you about what you should do or how you should act in a particular situation.

For example: “I need someone to give me some advice.”

Advise is a verb, which means to give information and suggest types of action.

For example: “I advise everybody to be nice to their teacher.”

!Often in English the noun form ends in…ice and the verb form ends in…ise.

Affect vs effect

Affect and effect are two words that are commonly confused.

Affect is usually a verb (action) – effect is usually a noun (thing)

Hint: If it’s something

you’re going to do, use “affect.” If it’s something you’ve already done, use “effect.”

To affect something or someone.

Meaning: to influence, act upon, or change something or someone.

For example: The noise outside affected my performance.

To have an effect on something or someone

!Note: effect is followed by the preposition on and preceded by an article (an, the)

Meaning: to have an impact on something or someone.

For example: His smile had a strange effect on me.

!Effect can also mean “the end result”.

For example: The drug has many adverse side effects.

All right vs alright

All right has multiple meanings. It can mean ok, acceptable, unhurt.

The single word spelling alright has never been accepted as standard.

However in a search on Google you’ll get around 68,700,000 hits for alright and 163,000,000 for “all right”. So, it might become a respected alternative spelling. Personally I have no problem with it, but what do other people think:-

Kingsley Amis The King’s English 1997: “I still feel that to inscribe alright is gross, crass, coarse and to be avoided, and I now say so. Its interdiction is as pure an example as possible of a rule without a reason, and in my case may well show nothing but how tenacious a hold early training can take.”

Bill Bryson Troublesome Words 1997: “A good case could be made for shortening all right to alright. … English, however, is a fickle tongue and alright continues to be looked on as illiterate and unacceptable and consequently it ought never to appear in serious writing.”

Robert Burchfield The New Fowler’s Modern English Usage 1997: “Alright… is the demotic form. It is preferred, to judge from the evidence I have assembled, by popular sources like the British magazines The Face… New Musical Express and Sounds, the American magazine Black World, the Australian journal Southerly, the Socialist Worker, by popular singers… and hardly ever by writers of standing… It is commonplace in private correspondence, especially in that of the moderately educated young. Almost all other printed works in Britain and abroad use the more traditional form… ”
(At which point in there did you first get the urge to smack him?)

Graham King The Times Writer’s Guide 2001: If we accept already, altogether and almost, why not alright? Although it carries with it the whiff of grammatical illegitimacy it is and has been in common use for a century…”

Alone / lonely

Alone, can be used as an adjective or adverb. Either use means without other people or on your own.

For example: “He likes living alone.”
“I think we’re alone now.



Common mistakes and confusing words in english